Those of you who live near a ginormous city will be able to see Lincoln this Friday, but it won’t open here in flyover country until Nov. 16. I’m almost as anxious to swap reactions with all you online history buffs and bloggers as I am to see the movie itself, but I guess I’ll have to wait an extra week before I can review it on the blog. I suspect that the Union will win, the Thirteenth Amendment will go to the states, rousing speeches will be speechified, and a performance of Our American Cousin will be unexpectedly cut short—but all the same, don’t you guys in New York and L.A. spoil the ending for us, okay?
In the meantime, I’ve got a review of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History in the works. I’ll post it here or over at the Lincoln Institute blog, or perhaps cross-post it to both.
Speaking of Lincoln movies, you might remember the upcoming film about Lincoln’s relationship with Ward Hill Lamon that was in the news last year. The folks behind the project have put together a sneak peek and they were kind enough to direct my attention to it. Brooks Simpson has already posted the video over at Crossroads, but here it is anyway if you haven’t seen it yet:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is out on DVD now, and my mom has been determined to see it, for reasons unfathomable to me. The day before yesterday she went to the local rental place, and every copy was checked out. Every single one.
She went back again yesterday, and still had no luck.
On her way home from work today she tried for the third time, and there was one copy available. She snagged it and carried it around while looking over the other new releases, and while she was in the store she overheard two different people ask the clerk if there were any extra copies of AL:VH in the back.
Maybe it’ll be one of those movies that die an ignominious death in theaters only to enjoy cult status in the home video market.
By the way, Mom didn’t like it.
Spielberg’s Lincoln screened at the New York Film Festival, and the early reviews have been pretty good. Everybody seems to be impressed with Daniel Day-Lewis and the rest of the cast; the story is apparently good, if a little slow-moving. I’m guessing the NYFF screening wasn’t the final cut, so the wide release version will probably be a little tighter.
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado tried valiantly to put the best face on Obama’s debate performance: “It’s just like Lincoln. When Lincoln ran for re-election, it was…dead close, I mean really a struggle, really close, and he wasn’t a great public speaker. I mean, Obama’s a great speaker. Lincoln wasn’t a great debater.”
He later clarified his remarks by stating, “Evidently…in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, by most accounts, he had a hard time keeping up with Stephen Douglas, who was great. That’s what I was referring to.”
Because if there was one area where the man who delivered the Gettysburg Address needed improvement, it was public speaking. But to be fair, Republicans have been having their own history issues lately.
In the next few weeks there are going to be so many Lincoln updates that you’ll be pining for the good old days when nothing happened other than the occasional Liam Neeson visit to Springfield.
As is his custom, Daniel Day-Lewis was fanatically committed to his role in Spielberg’s upcoming Lincoln film. This according to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Robert Todd Lincoln and whose character in The Dark Knight Rises was utterly superfluous, thank you very much.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy also talked to reporters about Spielberg’s Lincoln. More importantly, she gave a progress report on the next Jurassic Park installment. (One of these days I’ll finally give in and make this a history/dinosaur blog.)
There’s already been misplaced criticism of Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln’s voice. All you people who want your Lincoln to sound like Gregory Peck need to read up on what his voice was actually like.
Take a look at the photo, and then click here.
Taken at Brady’s studio on Jan. 8, 1864. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
This one is apparently about Abe’s boyhood, with Diane Kruger as Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln. This carries on a long, proud tradition of filling Lincoln movie roles with actresses who are far more attractive than the historical figures they play.